I was struggling a bit with a topic for the blog this week and you all almost ended up with my grocery list. *grins*
Ah, the “mundane” life. The life outside the story. I don’t know about other writers but I get a little caught up in whatever I happen to be working on. It makes life outside the page get a little foggy, almost dreamlike.
There is a necessity – for me – in taking some time off after I finish a project. A space for grounding, for peeling off the story and focusing on the mundane once again. I’m a big proponent of writing everyday so the focus shifts to journaling during these times, but there’s a need to just let the story stuff sit for a while in the back of my head. (Because make no mistake, it’s always there. Some days it’s just quieter than others.)
Taking a break, however, can be dangerous. A few days turns into a week, which slides into two, then three, then a month goes by in the blink of an eye. One can struggle to find the motivation to get moving again, to get writing and get back to it.
Then that doubt creeps in, the panic – “Can I do this?” “I’m no good.” “That last book was a fluke.” – all the other lovely, horrible things our brain loves to throw at us in the dark spaces.
I find the only way through this is to just start writing again. It might be utter crap. I might go through six different ideas and nothing will spark a fire in me to keep writing. None of it matters though. All that matters is at that point I’ve got my hands on the keyboard and I’m writing.
Funny thing is this works with pretty much everything in your life. Haven’t practiced your piano in a while? Just sit down and play, it might sound bad at first but the longer you play the better you’ll get. Haven’t run for a while? Get back out on the track (or trail or treadmill) and don’t stop until your time’s up.
This is the glory of good habits all you have to do is repeat them and after a while they stick to you like glue. Once a habit has been developed, it’s a lot harder to let go of. You might be able to take a little break … but at some point that itch in the back of your brain turns to madness and you really just have to get back to it.